Imagine a multiverse of Star Trek.
I’m not just talking about the binary set of the Mirror Universe that we all know and love. I’m talking about a plethora of alternate realities all layered on top of each other designed to take the reader on a six-issue arc of “Treksploration” into possibilities that fans have never been shown before. In other words, Star Trek: Boldly Go #13‘s new storyline, titled I.D.I.C., promises a deeper level of complication and variety.
Long-time Star Trek fans will know what IDIC is; it’s the central pillar of Vulcan philosophy that stands for “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”, and Mike Johnson has decided to show us a sampling of the many alternates that could have been in the Kelvin Timeline.
For example, we start with the crew prior to reassembling upon the approach of the construction of the USS Enterprise’s replacement. A conversation with Uhura sees Spock introducing the notion of IDIC, which becomes the segue to another alternate timeline in which Spock’s humanity was rejected by his father’s culture, forcing him and his mother to live their lives on Earth. This Spock took Amanda’s surname as his own, surgically altered his ears to appear more human and serves as Captain Pike’s first officer on board the USS Enterprise.
But wait … there’s more. In this reality Kirk was rescued by Klingons, commands the IKS Channoq and is a nefarious villain known as the “Orphan” and is hunted by Starfleet. In the middle of an encounter with this Enterprise, they experience a strange spatial anomaly which introduces all parties to yet another variation of James T. Kirk.
I won’t give too much more away, but it’s so very hard to talk about the considerable amount of detail that went into this comic without giving away some of the detail!
“What If…” stores such great fodder and this is no exception to that rule. After all, the door was opened up by the second season TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror” about alternate realities. And, in fact, the entire concept for other science fiction writers to speculate about is also owed to that episode written by Jerome Bixby. It’s great to see Mike Johnson tapping into that same vein of speculative fiction that made Star Trek such a dynamic and enduring source of storytelling.
Star Trek is about open mindedness. What I find entertaining about Star Trek fans is that whenever something different appears in Star Trek, there’s always a massive reactionary response. Fans like the status quo, yet fail to understand that the status quo in Trek is about change. Every iteration of Trek was meant to be different from the others before.
Change upsets comfort, and that’s the purpose behind this series: how far can we be pushed out of our comfort zone in appreciating the values that Trek has to offer us? After all, the title of the series is based after one of the oldest concepts of variety that Trek had to offer us and that was back in 1968.
Phew … bit of a rant there. As I come down, let me say a few words about the solid art of Josh Hood. Definition and clarity always attract my attention and Hood has definitely got the chops for this work. His lines are clear, distinct and very appreciable and clarity is such a useful aid in storytelling. I am looking forward to seeing more of his work develop.
- Cover A is an incredibly imaginative cover that sees Tony Shasteen applying his gift at likenesses to six different versions of the Kelvin Kirk. It’s a tall order but Shasteen is a virtuoso at his craft and the result is a stunning piece of work that I would gladly give my eyeteeth to own the original.
This is truly inspirational in its speculative portrayal of the story and leads the reader to ponder over the other variations of Kirk we will meet as this story develops. This is certainly the manifestation of what a cover is supposed to be and do: entice readers to buy the book. This is the winning cover for me and definitely ranks as my favourite.
- Cover B is a montage of variations on Uhura with the Kelvin version in the foreground. It’s a bit difficult to make out all the varieties, but this offering is by Tana Ford. I confess I’m not too familiar with her work, so this is a new one for me.
- The Retailer Incentive Cover A is a photo of Jayla from Star Trek Beyond. I have no idea why she was chosen for this series, given her lack of relevancy to the story. Plus, as I’m not a believer in photographs on a comic cover, this isn’t a winner for me.
- The Retailer Incentive Cover B is by Yoshi Yoshitani. I can’t say I know of this artist’s work and this is a style that I’m not overly fond of. It’s a fairly staid image with an unremarkable pose of Kirk and Spock and a stylized Enterprise motif in the background.
In short, Star Trek: Boldly Go #13 promises a great deal as the next six issues promise to tease our imaginations as we see exactly what varieties of Trek appear.
I’m already conjuring up different combinations in my head and can’t wait to see if any of them match Johnson might throw at us!